John Simpson - The Word Detective - Little, Brown Book Group

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    • ISBN:9781408706602
    • Publication date:13 Oct 2016
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    • ISBN:9780349141008
    • Publication date:06 Jul 2017

The Word Detective

A Life in Words: From Serendipity to Selfie

By John Simpson

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  • £P.O.R.

The story of words, cultures, the OED and John Simpson, a word detective with thirty-seven years of dictionary experience and twenty years as Chief Editor of the world's most important dictionary

Language is always changing. No one knows where it is going but the best way to future-cast is to look at the past. John Simpson animates for us a tradition of researching and editing, showing us both the technical lexicography needed to understand a word, and the careful poetry needed to construct its definition. He challenges both the idea that dictionaries are definitive, and the notion that language is falling apart. With a sense of humour, an ability to laugh at bureaucracy and an inclination to question the status quo, John Simpson gives life to the colourful characters at the OED and to the English language itself. He splices his stories with entertaining and erudite diversions into the history and origin of words such as 'kangaroo', 'hot-dog' , 'pommie', 'bicycle' , not ignoring those swearwords often classed as 'Anglo-Saxon' ! The book will speak to anyone who uses a dictionary, 'word people' , history lovers, students and parents.

Biographical Notes

The author was Chief Editor of the OED and worked on the Dictionary for 37 years.

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  • ISBN: 9781408706596
  • Publication date: 13 Oct 2016
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  • Imprint: Little, Brown
Inviting, adj., is given two senses by the OED: that which invites or gives invitation, and attractive, alluring, or tempting. Although this superb memoir is not likely to lead you into temptation, it otherwise fits the definition very well. Simpson was a key figure on the editorial team that rescued the OED from obsolescence and ensured its ongoing relevance. They took on the considerable job of bringing the OED online and of adapting it in other ways that have transformed it from a historical monument into an indispensable record of our living language. In similar fashion, this funny, insightful, and really just wonderful book renders Simpson's own past accessible, engaging, and germane. Part social history, part dictionary history, and part personal history-with beguiling etymologies interwoven throughout (computer, deadline, skanking)-The Word Detective will appeal to any reader curious about the English language and how it evolves. Simpson is the perfect guide to the OED. I adored this book — Alena Graedon, author of The Word Exchange
There is a poignant and unanticipated counterpoint to John Simpson's fine memoir of his time at the OED-for while his majestic dictionary was during his tenure undergoing changes of the profoundest kind, he and his family were dealing with a personal challenge that places all his lexicographic achievements in the most human of contexts. This is a wonderful book, then-but on two levels, both equally revealing, intimate and true — Simon Winchester, author of The Professor and the Madman
A perfect title. According to the OED, a Sherlock is someone "who investigates mysteries or shows great perceptiveness". This aptly summarizes Sherlock Simpson, who tells the inside story of how that great dictionary has come to be written, illustrated by illuminating and sometimes daring word histories, and grounded in an engaging and moving autobiography. Anyone fascinated by words and their history will love it — David Crystal
People think of dictionaries as oracles that channel eternal verities about The Language. In fact they are the handiwork of mortals who deliberate about how to make sense of the creative brainchildren and viral fads of hundreds of millions of wordsmiths. The Word Detective is a delightful and revealing look at the human side of dictionaries, with insights galore about the nature of language. (And why does the adjective galore come after the noun?) — Steven Pinker, author of The Language Instinct
Vibrant and inspiring — Publishers Weekly
Simpson's memoir features entertaining, culturally revealing stories of many curious words, phrases, and roots — Booklist
Simpson, writing with a wry and often self-deprecating wit and an obvious passion for his subject, tells a story that is at once deeply personal and part of the larger story of a fundamental shift in how we share information — Maximum Shelf
I found this book surprisingly moving. John Simpson's quiet devotion to his daily task, handling words with calmness and devotion, even love, is an inspiration — Roger Lewis, Mail on Sunday
A charmingly full, frank and humorous account of a career dedicated to rigorous lexicographic rectitude . . . [Simpson] is an absolute hero — Lynne Truss, International New York Times
A compelling tribute to the wonder of language — Anita Sethi, Guardian
Poignant . . . a sustained and sincere reflection on what it means to make a dictionary - the toil, the puzzles, the costs and the profits — Henry Hitchings, Guardian
This elegantly crafted volume will surely provide greater entertainment than a few more famous memoirists this autumn — Marcus Berkmann, Daily Mail
Running Press Adult

Tiny Hot Dogs

Mary Giuliani
Authors:
Mary Giuliani

Mary Giuliani's charming memoir, Tiny Hot Dogs,weaves together a collection of hilariously relatable essays detailing her winding path through makeshift kitchens and catering gigs to wind up at the center of the party. With an easy, natural storytelling sensibility, Mary recounts her path to becoming one of New York City's most high-profile food entrepreneurs, dubbed "Caterer to the Stars" by the press, as she counts gleaming trays of pigs in a blanket as a crucial ingredient in her recipe for success, in building both a business and a family.Beginning with a totally normal childhood spent with her loving and deeply overprotective Italian family in an all-Jewish enclave on Long Island, we see a self-proclaimed "outsider" trying to fit in. Mary shares the twists and turns that land her in an unexpected catering job, for which she is perfectly suited (even though she has dreams of the stage). Her side gig turns out to be unexpectedly fulfilling, and changes her life.In growing into her catering career, Mary walks through hilarious celebrity encounters, devastating personal losses, and a hard-scrabble climb to success, through which she maintains a tight hold on her optimism and entirely relatable nature. Though she easily moves in and out of star-studded circles and has earned the trust and loyalty of New York's high-rolling class, she remains the same self-deprecating Catholic girl from New Jersey who wants nothing more than to have a bat mitzvah like all her friends. The reader cannot help rooting for "the girl with the tiny hot dogs," excited to see where each shiny, silvery tray of hors d'oeuvres takes her next. As joyful observers, we ultimately revel in her realization that serving the gang instead of joining them may just be one of life's greatest recipes.

Constable

I Talk Too Much

Francis Rossi
Authors:
Francis Rossi

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New Harbinger

The Birth Guy’s Go-To Guide for New Dads

Brian W Salmon, Kirsten Brunner
Authors:
Brian W Salmon, Kirsten Brunner

A must-have baby shower gift for expectant dads! In this one-of-a-kind guide, dad, doula, and certified lactation consultant Brian Salmon and perinatal mental health and relationship expert Kirsten Brunner offer practical, modern-day survival tips for expectant dads and birth partners.Gone are the days when fathers would nervously pace the waiting room while their partners gave birth. Dads are participating in childbirth now more than ever before. However, if you're like many men, you may feel unprepared, uncomfortable, or even unwelcome in the birth room. For you, this book offers battle-tested tips to help you get in the game and prepare for one of the most incredible adventures of your life.Based on the author's Rocking Dads childbirth course, this book will teach you everything you need to know about supporting your partner through birth, breastfeeding, and beyond. In this guide, you'll discover pointers and advice you won't find in any other childbirth or breastfeeding guide, including: - A list of items to pack for the hospital that will help mom's labor go more smoothly - "Jedi communication skills" that you can utilize during early labor to support mom and keep her in a positive state of mind - How to write a birth plan that the labor and delivery nurses will actually pay attention to - What to say and do-and what not to say and do-when mom is in active labor and feeling all the feelings - A detailed account of what to expect in the delivery room as a birth partner, and how to navigate the unknown terrains when things don't go as planned - How to help mom achieve proper nipple latch when she attempts breastfeeding for the first timeFinally, and perhaps most importantly, you'll find tips for maintaining a strong relationship with your partner before, during, and after the birth so that you feel closer than ever when you launch into the wild yet wonderful world of parenthood.

Fleet

The Atlas of Reds and Blues

Devi Laskar
Authors:
Devi Laskar

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Da Capo Press

Kangaroo Squadron

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Authors:
Bruce Gamble

Orbit

Splintered Suns

Michael Cobley
Authors:
Michael Cobley

'Proper galaxy-spanning space opera' Iain M. Banks on Seeds of EarthAction-orientated sci-fi with a spaceship crewed by rogues and scoundrels, perfect for fans of Star Wars, Firefly or FarscapeFor Pyke and his crew it should have been just another heist. Travel to a backwater desert planet, break into a museum, steal a tracking device then use it to find a ship buried in the planet's vast and trackless sandy wastes. Except that the museum vault is a bio-engineered chamber, and the tracking device is sought after by another gang of treasure hunters led by an old adversary of Pyke's, the devious Raven Kaligara. Also, the ship is a quarter of a million years old and about two kilometres long and somewhere aboard it is the Essavyr Key, a relic to unlock all the treasures and technologies of a lost civilisation . . .'Splintered Suns splices new and old space opera, cyberpunk, quest fantasy and heist caper -- the maddest thing I've read since Van Vogt!' Ken MacLeod"Splintered Suns is a masterpiece of future nostalgia. All who love mischievous interstellar derring-do in pursuit of ancient relics of departed races as well as exotic panoplies of sentient species, all who love space opera should feast upon this generous novel. Let us revel in the admirable jaunty technicolour richness which Mike Cobley serves up so entertainingly-for this is how the universe ought to be" Ian Watson, author of the Games Workshop Warhammer 40K novels Space Marine and The Inquisition Wartrilogy

Little, Brown US

Someday a Bird Will Poop On You

Sue Salvi, Megan Kellie
Contributors:
Sue Salvi, Megan Kellie

At some point in your life, things are bound to get a little sh*tty. Whether that means an unexpected parking ticket, a layoff, or a ruined coat, some day a bird will poop on all of us. Metaphorically speaking. (Or not.)But when the going gets tough, the tough know that with the right outlook on life, they can handle any challenge. With hilarious illustrations, a universal message, and plenty of pooping birds, this book is your secret weapon against an uncertain future, and the perfect gift for grads, dads, or big kids.

Fleet

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Shirley Barrett
Authors:
Shirley Barrett

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Sphere

Lush

Gabrielle Fernie
Authors:
Gabrielle Fernie

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Grand Central Publishing

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Dana Schwartz
Authors:
Dana Schwartz

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Piatkus

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Authors:
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Abacus

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Authors:
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Running Press Adult

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Authors:
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Nation Books

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Avraham Burg
Authors:
Avraham Burg

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Hachette Australia

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Robert Macklin
Authors:
Robert Macklin

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Constable

Sweet Poison

David Roberts
Authors:
David Roberts

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Constable

Bones of the Buried

David Roberts
Authors:
David Roberts

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Constable

Dangerous Sea

David Roberts
Authors:
David Roberts

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C & R Crime

The More Deceived

David Roberts
Authors:
David Roberts
Basic Books

Faces at the Bottom of the Well

Derrick Bell
Authors:
Derrick Bell